Spotlight on rape

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IN THE context of current ­discussions around proposed anonymity for those accused of serious crimes, it is important to highlight the reasons why this would be a retrograde step in the context of sexual offences.

There have been many cases where identification and conviction of a perpetrator would not have been possible if women had not been made aware of his identity. Knowing who their attacker was and that they were not alone in having suffered at his hands is sometimes the single factor that allows women to come forward and can significantly enhance their chances of receiving justice when they do.

Many of the difficulties in ­securing convictions for rape lie in the hidden nature of the crime, the fact that it is one person’s word against another, and that concrete evidence is often in short supply, if not entirely absent.

Rapists rely on the terror, shame and trauma that so often keeps women silent, and in some cases assault one woman after another many times before there is any prospect of ­discovery. ­

Police are clear that it is key to their intelligence that the identity of the accused be made known, in order that information from a range of complainers can be linked, recorded and, where appropriate, the Moorov doctrine applied.

With this in mind, it is clear that a guarantee of anonymity for the accused in rape cases would jeopardise the justice process for women. 

Eileen Maitland

Rape Crisis Scotland

Bath Street, Glasgow

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